Not too big and not too small, medium-sized dog breeds can often be just right. Coming in between 30—60 lbs, these dogs are perfect whether you’re searching for an active best friend or a snuggly couch companion. While the “best” type of dog is different from person to person, the following dogs fit into an abundance of lifestyles and needs. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more diverse (and adorable) group than these medium size dog breeds.
1. Basset Hound
At an average weight of 40-65 pounds, these droopy-eyed lowriders are famous for their sad expressions and velvety ears. Although originally bred to sniff out prey, the Basset Hound is also known for its family-friendly nature. Thus, despite their stubborn attitudes and loud, ringing barks, this funny hound is one of the world’s favorite breeds.
The popularity of the TV and movie character, Lassie, helped this herding dog rise to popularity decades ago. And with its deeply loyal nature, impressive intelligence, and a gorgeous multi-colored coat, the Collie remains a much-loved breed. This pup also makes a good companion for children and sheep alike. Just beware that Collies are high energy dogs and require as much grooming as they do exercise.
3. Australian Cattle Dog
Topping out at 50 pounds, the Australian Cattle Dog is a perfect example of how a medium-sized dog can be the best of both worlds. They’re agile and athletic, as well as excellent guard dogs. But they’re also adorable due to their smaller statures and spotted coats. Keep in mind that this high energy pup needs an up-and-at-’em type owner. Without daily runs or challenging walks, the herding dog may start running circles around the house.
Like the Bassett Hound, Bulldogs pack a lot of weight into one short-legged body. With a maximum healthy weight of 50 pounds, though, these dogs have the right size (and temperament) for an urban or rural environment. Although they’re known for their stubborn natures and strength, this droopy-faced dog is also docile, great with kids, and endlessly entertaining.
5. Chinese Shar-Pei
Although the Shar-Pei has risen in availability in recent years, this wrinkly-skinned pup still attracts attention wherever they go. In fact, the Shar-Pei boasts several odd traits, including a broad muzzle and sunken eyes, all of which add up to cuteness. Don’t be fooled by that funny face though: this watch dog is best for experienced owners as they’re know to be standoffish with strangers.
6. Australian Shepherd
Originally bred to be a rancher’s best friend, this dog breed is now popping up in households all over the country. The Australian Shepherd’s popularity isn’t surprising, though, especially given their spotted tricolor coat. With a go-getter attitude and fun-loving spirit, this pup is an excellent choice for athletic and outdoorsy people. They also excel in agility sports, such as flyball or frisbee.
7. Norwegian Elkhound
This gray and silver fox-like spitz is less known than other medium-sized breeds. But with a reputation for being wonderful companions and alert guard dogs, perhaps more people will look the way of the Norwegian Elkhound. While they may not be warm and open with strangers, they’ll open their hearts to their human inner circle, making those sweet dark eyes even more alluring.
8. Siberian Husky
Usually when people hear the word “husky,” they think of the large and wolf-like Alaskan Malamute. However, at a weight of 35-60 pounds, the Siberian Husky is a surprisingly small sled-pulling dog with a beautiful thick coat. Due to their friendly and playful spirit, they may not always make the best watch dogs. But for an experienced and athletic dog owner, these high-energy pups can make for life-fulfilling companions.
9. Bull Terrier
Like the Bulldog and Shar-Pei, “ugly cute” might be an appropriate term to describe the Bull Terrier. With an egg-shaped sloping head, sunken eyes, and pointed ears, this dog is shockingly cute, and good-natured to boot. This breed is also reputable for its love for children. Just remember, this terrier also needs a lot of exercise, firm training, and early socialization with other dogs in order to live their best lives.
10. Border Collie
The black and white Border Collie is one of the world’s most recognizable dogs. With a sleek and small frame, erect ears, and bright eyes, these dogs are not only beautiful, but extremely intelligent. Given their infamous need for mental stimulation and exercise, however, this herding breed isn’t for everyone. Then again, after the work is done for the day, the Border Collie can also be a relaxed and happy camper.
Most everyone notices a Samoyed walking down the street. With their Arctic-ready fluffy white coats, black rimmed eyes, and super-cute medium size, this pup is as photogenic as they are happy. Note that their intelligent, curious, and sometimes independent natures can lead to trouble. Samoyed owners should be as sociable and energetic as their dogs.
The tawny-colored Vizsla is the perfect dog for runners, hikers, and bikers. With a thin but fit frame, the Vizsla rarely tires. However, with a daily dose of heavy exercise, this droopy-eared dog is also known to make for a great, sensitive, and even cuddly companion. They also excel in field and obedience training exercises, which allow them to show off their quick wits.
13. Shetland Sheepdog
Coming in at 15-25 pounds, the Shetland Sheepdog should almost be placed in the small breed list. That said, with their long legs, “big dog” energy, and highly agile bodies, these sociable pups make for excellent companions for active people. Like all herding group dogs though, they’ll need plenty of walks and mental stimulation. Puzzle toys and games of fetch will help keep them balanced and happy.
14. Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier
It’s no surprise that these buff-colored dogs have risen steeply in popularity over the last decade. The Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier is a sweet, family-friendly, and loyal dog. They also feature that typical terrier spunk, though, and with a unique fluffy coat to boot. This pup also does well with regular exercise, but are less energetic than other similar breeds.
15. English Springer Spaniel
Looking for a people pleaser? These hunting and retrieving dogs are highly trainable and make for close companions. With their sweet expressions, long ears, and wavy coats, this spaniel is a gentle soul and great with children. Due to their athletic past, these dogs need a large amount of forward-moving exercise. They also excel in games like fetch.
16. Portuguese Water Dog
Originally bred to be a fisherman’s working companion, these dogs are relaxed enough to hang out on the deck of a boat, but also love a good jog, walk, or—better yet—swim. Due to their loyal and friendly natures, this water dog also makes for a superb family pet. Furthermore, with their dense and curly hypoallergenic coat, they’re a great choice for people with pet allergies.
17. Brittany Spaniel
With a weight range of only 30-40 pounds, some people may underestimate the skill and athleticism of the Brittany Spaniel. This sprightly dog boasts incredible endurance, agileness, and speed, though. On top of all that, they’re known for their cleverness and sweet natures. With the right outdoorsy family, they can make for the most thrilling of companions.
Similar in body type to the Greyhound, these medium-sized dogs are quick, agile, and superbly fast. But while often thought of for their speed, Whippets also have fun-loving and quirky personalities. This affable nature makes them a unique choice for a wide range of people, including urban-dwellers. Just keep an eye on the weather! Their short coats will require an extra layer in the cold.
19. English Setter
The word “merry” is often used to describe the speckled English Setter. Once used only as a sporting dog, this breed now fits in remarkably well as a family and companion dog. They’re light on their feet, gentle, quiet, and love a good walk through the woods or park. Still, don’t assume that they’re too tame. This dog loves vigorous play, as well as to retrieve balls and sticks.
20. Cocker Spaniel
Originally a hunting dog, the Cocker Spaniel is now best known for being a family pet. This breed features a dense coat, a sweet face, and long ears, which only lends to its naturally sociable and cuddly personality. While they enjoy daily walks and retrieving toys or balls, the Cocker Spaniel is a lower energy medium-sized dog, making them a smart choice for less active owners.
21. Carolina Dog
Once only a rural or stray dog, the Carolina Dog is now finding its way into the hearts of many humans. Although they may be standoffish or indifferent to strangers, these dogs are known to display earned loyalty to those they love the most. With a wild-like appearance, these dogs also make reliable guard dogs, as well as sturdy companions for outdoor activities.
22. Australian Kelpie
Closely related to other herding dogs, this athletic and agile superstar is a lesser known breed that arguably deserves more attention. Like Border Collies, Kelpies are highly intelligent and trainable, as well as excel in jumping hurdles, catching frisbees, and other challenging tasks. Though they often boast a happy-go-lucky nature, the Australian Kelpie is best for active and experienced dog owners.
The Dalmatian became a cultural icon due to its Hollywood fame. Yet, because of their standoffish guard dog nature, this breed has been largely misunderstood. Therefore, only experienced dog owners will likely reap the joys of living with a black-spotted Dalmatian. With the right training, exercise, and care, these bright dogs make for exceptionally loyal and dignified companions.
24. American Eskimo Dog
Similar in looks to the Samoyed, the standard-sized American Eskimo Dog is bright and sociable. Topping out at 35 pounds, it may seem like this breed would do well in an apartment, but exercise is key for this pup. Without daily long walks and mental challenges, this clever dog can quickly become destructive. The American Eskimo also loves living amongst a pack and thus benefits from regular trips to the dog park.
25. Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever
Often referred to as a “Toller,” the Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever is smart, quick, and simply makes life more fun. This athletic pup is much smaller than a Labrador Retriever but has the same propensity for chasing and returning balls. They also enjoy training exercises, hiking, and—of course—swimming. Despite their adorable white-and-rust colored coats, “Tollers” are perhaps less known due to their working dog needs. Without daily exercise, this sprightly dog will be bouncing off the walls.
26. Airedale Terrier
Searching for a fun, fit, and versatile pup? The Airedale Terrier is a lesser known breed, but matches with many different lifestyles. Though they love chasing balls and going for brisk jogs, this super-sized terrier also does well with kids and less active owners. Note that this breed can be stubborn and willful, meaning that you’ll need patience and leadership in order to exist together happily.
Originally from South Korea, this stunning husky-looking breed is a unique choice for those searching for a guard and companion dog. Jindos are known for their bravery, boldness, and strong instincts for hunting. They’re also less likely to adapt to a family atmosphere, as they tend to bond strongly with one human—likely the one who walks and runs with them the most.
28. Standard Schnauzer
Nowadays when we think of Schnauzers, we often think of the miniature version. However, the standard version of this breed reaches a hearty weight of 50 pounds. Still, the attitude seems to be the same. They’re tough, strong willed, and bright dogs, who also melt the hearts of their owners. This breed also enjoys a moderate amount of exercise, games, and chasing squirrels in the backyard.
29. Dutch Shepherd
With a maximum weight of 75 pounds, the Dutch Shepherd is often thought of a large breed dog, most known for their work with police. That said, these dogs can also be as light as 42 pounds and, with the right handling and exercise, can make for exceptional family dogs. Known for their intelligence and alertness, the Dutch Shepherd will require daily mental and physical challenges. They’re also known to be strong leaders.
30. Standard Poodle
The Standard Poodle is one of the most well-known breeds around the world, and they come in miniature, toy, and medium sizes. This dog breed may look elegant and sophisticated, but they are as silly and loving as any other canine out there.
31. Chow Chow
Commonly mistaken as a walking fluff ball of fur, the Chow Chow rounds out our list of medium sized dog breeds. These pups typically grow to be 45 to 70 pounds, but they are generally very calm, reserved dogs. They are perfect for chill owners or families looking for an independent, low-key dog!